Q: Will all of the steering colomns in the link work for my 87 dodge diplomat? http://car-part.com/cgi-bin/search.cgi

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My car has an automatic transmission.

The Car-Part.com database uses interchange data to display parts matches for individual makes, models and years. As you know, there is a proliferation of part variations that can often make it maddening to obtain exact and appropriate replacement parts. The best strategy to avoid headaches is always use OEM (dealer) parts that are matched to your specific VIN number. In the case of a used part and Car-Part.com the best strategy to protect yourself (financially) in the transaction is, once you select a steering column that you believe is a match, send your VIN number to the yard and simply ask them: "I have a 1987 Dodge Diplomat, 5.2L, tilt or no tilt column (you specify), VIN number xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, will such and so column fit my vehicle?" Hopefully, they will be able to tell you if it matches exactly, or as you desire (some differences can be meaningless, of course including color). If they cannot tell you whether a particular column is a match, you can simply follow up by asking them, "If the part turns out to be non functional (incompatible or, worse, broken) is it returnable?". If it is returnable, you are good to go but only if you pay by credit card (a credit card transaction can be disputed if the vendor lies to you or otherwise does not perform as he or she just agreed). Be sure you keep the written e-mail response from the yard that you buy the column from. Another solution to this potential compatibility problem is to pick a yard that is in your region so that you can go in person and perform the required checks and look first hand at the condition. A third option is to input your VIN number at the on-line dealer OEM parts catalogs to match any particular column you are interested in to what you already have. It is a tedious, laborious process but that is another option that will work. I think your best bet is to select a steering column from the long list at Car-Part.com that seems like a good deal, call (you can record your call) or write the yard and just simply take your cue from them. If they are willing to vouch for compatibility, so long as you pay by credit card, you are protected in the event the transaction goes bad. If you desire assistance in the replacement of the column, please request steering column removal and replacement. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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